Résumé Writing Tips
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
What exactly is a résumé?
Your résumé is simply your written snapshot—a word picture of the unique combination of skills and qualities you offer an employer. Employers screen résumés in between 2.5 and 10 seconds, so your résumé should quickly capture the reader’s interest. There is an art to résumé writing. When learned, it can open doors to unlimited career opportunities. Since your résumé is your representative, make certain it is a good one by learning and applying the principles of first-class résumé writing.
What is its purpose?
Since résumés are screened in such a brief amount of time, it is imperative that it capture the reader’s interest and spark a desire to speak with you personally. It is as simple as that. Your résumé’s job is to land an interview! However, it must allow a prospective employer to quickly and accurately perceive who you are, what you do best, what you want to do in the future, and how you can benefit the company’s interests! The challenge is how this can be effectively accomplished in a concise manner. Remember that the most difficult résumé to write is your own, so take advantage of these guidelines and the many resources provided by your Tulane Career Center.
Remember to come in and visit for a résumé review with a career coach.
We offer FREE Résumé paper, in packs of ten (ivory & white), when you come visit our office.
The hireTulane Team has joined forces with OptimalRésumé.com!
Bringing you the best tools available for building an online Résumé!
With the sophisticated OptimalRésumé Builder™ you can build and manage 5 separate Résumés which can all be accessed by links, as in a personal résumé website, or in the standard Microsoft Word® Document. The Flash version of the résumé can be embedded with "infobytes" or small pop-ups of background information that might be useful to the reader.
Since the résumés are online, changes made to them take place immediately so this is an advantage over the typical emailed attachment or hard copy.
OptimalRésumé.com is fast, easy and FREE to all Tulane Students!
Extraordinary vs. Ordinary
What is the difference between an ordinary résumé and an extraordinary one?
For most students and recent graduates, a one-page résumé is preferred, especially if used for a career fair.
What are common pitfalls in résumé writing?
While the résumé is a somewhat generic advertisement for yourself, the cover letter allows you to tailor your application to each job. Although the thrust of your various letters may remain the same, there is no reason to have a single, generic cover letter.
Effective cover letters are constructed with close attention to:
Your cover letter and résumé usually provide all the information a prospective employer will use to decide whether you will reach the next phase in the application process: the interview.
While your goal is an interview and, ultimately, a job offer, the more immediate purpose of your cover letter in some cases may simply be to gain an attentive audience for your résumé.
A cover letter provides, in a very real sense, an opportunity to let your prospective employer hear your voice. It reflects your personality, your attention to detail, your communication skills, your enthusiasm, your intellect, and your specific interest in the company to which you are sending the letter.
Therefore, cover letters should be tailored to each company you are applying to. You should conduct enough research to know the interests, needs, values, and goals of each company, and your letters should reflect that knowledge.
A cover letter should be addressed to the specific company and the specific individual who will process your application. You can usually find this through research or simply by calling the company to find out who you should address your letter to.
The letter should name the position for which you are applying and also make specific references to the company. Indicate your knowledge of and interest in the work the company is currently doing, and your qualification for the position. You want the reader to know:
In addition to tailoring your application to a specific job with a specific company, the cover letter should also:
A cover letter should be in paragraph form (save bulleted lists for your résumé) with a conversational, though formal, tone. The first paragraph should be brief, perhaps two or three sentences, stating
The body of your letter should consist of one to three longer paragraphs in which you expand upon your qualifications for the position. Pick out the most relevant qualifications listed in your résumé and discuss them in detail, demonstrating how your background and experience qualify you for the job. Be as specific as possible, and refer the reader to your résumé for additional details.
The concluding paragraph of your letter should request an interview (or some other response, as appropriate). State where and when you can be reached, and express your willingness to come to an interview or supply further information.
Close by thanking your reader for his or her time and consideration.
Tulane University Career Center, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5107 firstname.lastname@example.org